Congo-Brazzaville: Kick-off of the electoral campaign for the presidential election of March 21

Congo-Brazzaville, which on Thursday, March 4, commemorated the ninth anniversary of the deadly explosions of a military camp in 2012, starts this Saturday, March 5, the electoral campaign for the presidential election of March 21, which will oppose seven candidates including the outgoing president, Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The National Independent Electoral Commission (CNEI) said Thursday that it was taking all measures to hold a peaceful election.
During the press conference that lasted more than an hour, Henri Bouka, President of the CNEI, indicated that the Commission was taking all the necessary steps to distribute, for example, voter cards in a timely manner. He said that after the most recent revision of the voters’ list, the next elections should involve more than 2.5 million voters who will vote in more than 5,700 offices throughout the country.
The police force was called to the polls shortly before the rest of the population, on March 17. They will vote in the ordinary polling stations and not in the barracks, Henri Bouka said. The president of the CNEI rejected accusations that he would be a judge and left, because he is also the first president of the Supreme Court.
“There is no incompatibility between the functions of the judicial judge and those of the president of the body in charge of managing the elections. Because the litigation of the presidential election, legislative and senatorial elections is devolved by the constitution of Congo to the Constitutional Court,” he defended.
This magistrate also affirmed that the election will be organized under the supervision of national and international observers.
At the age of 77, and after already 36 years of cumulative power, Denis Sassou-Nguesso is once again on the starting line. He is running for a fourth consecutive term. On the opposition side, Guy Brice Parfait Kolélas, declared second in the last presidential election, is once again trying his luck, as is Mathias Dzon. The 73-year-old former finance minister had already stood as a presidential candidate in 2009, before calling for a boycott of the elections at the last moment. He promises that this time he will go all the way.
Notably absent in this race: Pascal Tasty Mabiala. The leader of the opposition recognized by the government is not a candidate. His party, UPADS, the only one with a parliamentary group in the Assembly, has decided not to participate, citing shortcomings in the organization of the election. The independent, Joseph Kignoumbi Kia Mbougou, a former UPADS dissident, is running for the fourth time, alongside former army officer Albert Oniangué, customs inspector Anguios Nganguia Engambé, and Dave Mafoula, 38, the youngest in the race.
As for the opponents Clément Mierassa and Paulin Mkaya, they call for a boycott, denounce even before the vote an attempt at “electoral hold up”, and demand in particular the release of two former candidates for the 2016 presidential election: General Mokoko and André Okombi Salissa, two major players on the Congolese political scene, who are still in prison.

About Geraldine Boechat 1580 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia